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Daily Political Media Summary: 26 February 2010

All newspaper references refer to Scottish editions. Where there is a link to a newspaper’s website, the relevant page reference is blue and underlined.

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Economy

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Scottish Recovery: Finance secretary John Swinney has warned that immediate cuts to the Scottish budget by an incoming Conservative Government could “jeopardise” economic recovery. (Scotsman page 11)

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Strike by Civil Servants: Over a quarter of a million civil servants are set to stage a two-day protest over redundancy pay. Members of the Public and Commercial Services union will walk out on 8 and 9 March. (Scotsman page 17, Herald page 6, Mail page 1, Express page 19)

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Council Job Losses: Unions have claimed upcoming job losses in Scottish local authorities will be on par with the collapse of the mining or steel industries. It is estimated the number of council redundancies by 2014 could be as high as 32,000. (Herald page 4)

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Quango Bonuses: Bosses at the jobs-creation quango Scottish Enterprise received nearly £1m in bonuses. (Mail page 5, Telegraph page 6)

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BBC: BBC Scotland has been criticised for using £1million in emergency funds to pay for cosmetic work to its Glasgow headquarters in an independent report prepared by the National Audit Office. The corporation has also been criticised for spending £2 billion on building two new sets of headquarters. (Herald page 11, Mail page 10, Telegraph page 11, FT page 3

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Transport 

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Blizzard: Around 80 motorists were stranded overnight as some of the heaviest snowfalls caused chaos across Scotland yesterday. (Scotsman page 8, Herald page 4, Mail page 6, record page 4, Press & Journal page 1, Courier page 1, Sun page 9, Times page 3, Express page 5)

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Crime

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Police Tasers: Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill has said ministers will not be involved in the use of stun guns by Scottish police forces claiming it is an operational matter for police. (Scotsman page 16, Courier page 9)

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The Liberal Democrats are leading calls for the Scottish Government to intervene in Glasgow’s move to become the first city in the UK where officers on the beat carry Taser guns. (Herald page 12)

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DNA Profiling: Sir Alec Jeffreys, inventor of genetic finger printing, has called on England to adopt a scaled-down Scottish style DNA database because of “serious concerns” over the almost one million innocent people whose profiles have been retained by authorities in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. (Scotsman page 21)

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Education

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Teacher Skill Checks: The Scottish Government has ordered that teachers be regularly checked throughout their career to maintain standards. The proposed system of “re-accreditation” comes as the General Teaching Council for Scotland is undertaking major transformation. Responses have been mixed; unions have expressed concerns about increased bureaucracy whilst some education experts have welcomed the plans as long overdue. There is currently no national system for assessing teachers once they have qualified. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 1, TESS page 1)

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Politics

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SNP Referendum: Alex Salmond has published details of a two question independence referendum that would give the Scottish public a “vital say on the country’s future”. It will offer the option of devolution described by the government notes as Scotland receiving the “rights and responsibilities of a normal, sovereign state.” Mr Salmond has confirmed the SNP would campaign for a “yes, yes” vote. The draft bill will be put out to public consultation for nine weeks, meaning it will not be considered by MSPs until after the general election. (Scotsman page 6, Herald page 6, Mail page 2, Record page 2, Telegraph page 1, Press & Journal page 9, Courier page 7, Mirror page 6, Sun page 2, Times page 5, Express page 7, Guardian page 10)

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Armed Forces: Former Liberal Democrat leader Sir Menzies Campbell has obtained government figures which show the number of fully qualified medical officers operating in the UK Armed Forces is 42 per cent below the required level. (Scotsman page 7, Press & Journal page 19)

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Sick Kids’ Hospital: The boss of crisis hit charity the Sick Kids’ hospital in Edinburgh reportedly used the fund’s credit card for “personal expenses” it was claimed yesterday. (Sun page 4)

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Cash for Access: Holyrood has outlawed cash for access in the form of auctioning meals with senior politicians. The ruling is reported as suggesting that the Scottish Parliament believe Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon were wrong to host lunches at Holyrood as party fundraisers. (Herald page 1, Scotsman page 9)

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Assisted Suicide: Independent MSP Margo MacDonald has criticised new guidelines for England and Wales on assisted suicide and said Westminster MPs should follow Scotland’s lead by having full debates on the issue. (Scotsman page 11, Herald page 6, Press & journal 14)

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All-Women Lists: Labour has rejected proposals for all-women shortlists in half the seats in Scotland at the next election. The party’s National Executive Committee has decided that only five of the ten seats will be designated for women only. The all-female lists were introduced in 1992 to boost the number of female Labour MPs at Westminster. (Scotsman page 22)